“Transparency” is a lovely term. It brings to mind images of once again seeing Los Angeles without pollution and tent-city ghettos of misery. We imagine discerning a friend’s true feelings or being able to pick out the mugger or rapist in the crowd by a look. If only that were so.
Where Does Transparency Stop?
Tune in to any news program these days and you’ll hear cries for “transparency.” People paid to argue on CNN or Fox talk about “dark money,” which sounds very bad. They suggest that mysterious millionaires or secret foreign interests are undermining our virgin democratic republic with dark, hidden money. The answer, they say, is more transparency.
In transparency heaven, full disclosure exposes secret donors and unveils evil-doers manipulating public opinion with nasty falsehoods. It sounds so good. But there’s a downside to being so open. Don’t imagine that transparency will stop with international terrorists or mean, nasty people. Once loosed, the bureaucrats and do-gooders will quickly start snooping in your neighborhood.
Will transparent bank accounts come next? Should political parties know how much you save? Should your church donations, club memberships or video subscriptions be public knowledge? Does everyone need to know you support the Southern Poverty Law Center or the John Birch Society? What about your membership in the NRA or the USCCA? Does everyone have a right to know that you own firearms, that your children are home-schooled or that you’re a Methodist?
Our Right to Private Lives
What we actually see behind the smokescreen of “transparency” is a left-wing fantasy of Julian Assange, the Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks. Assange published classified U.S. information leaked to him by traitor Bradley Manning, clerk for a U.S. Army Intelligence group in Iraq. Assange wants a transparent world.
The role of our government is limited — in theory — and we should be shielded from the prying eye of bureaucrats and individuals with agendas.
We have a right to private lives. The government already knows how much you claim to give to your church or synagogue through income tax filing, as well as clubs you claim membership in through deductible giving. But enough is enough.
Will Our Guns Be Next in the Desire for Transparency?
Clubs and charities, for example, should not have to worry about funds drying up due to donor intimidation. I suspect the ultra-left wants to know who is funding its opposition — who supports military veterans and secure national borders … and which houses have guns.
Alabama, California, New York, Utah, South Carolina and other states now compel 501(c) charities to disclose donor information in the name of “transparency” and “good government.” Will the names of gun owners or concealed carry permit holders be next?
I believe that “transparency” is what we require of government. “Privacy” is a constitutional right afforded to us, the citizens.